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Journal Article

Evaluation of GPM-DPR precipitation estimates with WegenerNet gauge data

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Lasser, M., O, S., & Foelsche, U. (2019). Evaluation of GPM-DPR precipitation estimates with WegenerNet gauge data. Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, 12(9), 5055-5070. doi:10.5194/amt-12-5055-2019.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-85DF-D
The core satellite of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission provides precipitation observations measured with the Dual frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR). The precipitation can only be estimated from the radar data, and therefore, independent validations using direct precipitation observation on the ground as a true reference need to be performed. Moreover, the quality and the accuracy of the measurements depend on various influencing factors. In this way, a validation may help to minimise those uncertainties. The DPR provides three different radar rain rate estimates for the GPM core satellite: Ku-band-only rain rates, Ka-band-only rain rates and a product combining the two frequencies. This study presents an evaluation of the three GPM-DPR surface precipitation estimates based on the gridded precipitation data of the WegenerNet, a local scale terrestrial network of 153 meteorological stations in southeast Austria. The validation is based on a graphical and a statistical approach using only data where both Ku- and Ka-band measurements are available. The data delivered from the WegenerNet are gauge-based gridded rainfall observations; the meteorological winter is excluded due to technical reasons. The focus lies on the resemblance of the variability within the whole network and the over- and underestimation of the precipitation through the GPM-DPR. During the last four years 22 rainfall events were observed by the GPM-DPR over the WegenerNet and the analysis rests upon these rainfall events. The WegenerNet provides a large number of gauges within each GPM-DPR footprint. Its biases are well studied and corrected, thus, it can be taken as a robust ground reference. This work also includes considerations on the limits of such comparisons between small terrestrial networks with a high density of stations and precipitation observations from a satellite. Our results show that the GPM-DPR estimates basically match with the WegenerNet measurements, but absolute quantities are biased. The three types of radar estimates deliver similar results, where Ku-band and dual frequency estimates are very close to each other. On a general level, Ka-band precipitation estimates deliver the best results due to the high number of light rainfall events.